After spending most of the festival so far listening to other choirs perform – & especially being wowed by Iceland’s Reykjavik Gay & Lesbian Choir & Atlanta’s Our Song – we finally had a whole freewheelin’ afternoon in which to do as we pleased.
I joined a dozen of my fellow One Voicers & took the double-decker shuttle bus downtown to Trinity College. The Library was built during 1712-1732, & its Long Room (209 feet long, in fact) holds 200,000 books. It feels grand & warm at the same time. We also oohed & aahed over the intricate, vibrant artwork by the early Christian monks in the 8th century Book of Kells.
A walk along the lively Grafton Street, with stops for Gino’s Gelato & to listen to street musicians – & a detour through the 18th-century courtyard of the Dublin Castle – brought us back to catch our shuttle at City Hall.
The Various Voices festival was a rush of rehearsals, performances, cheering, stomping, languages, laughs, rides to & from the Dublin campus, & multiple shots of espresso (several times a day).
One Voice performed in the large, modern Mahony Hall on Saturday evening, in the same block of choirs as the London Gay Men’s Chorus, which ensured us a big audience!
Our first piece, An Afro-Celtic Diddle, flew along like fast jig – incorporating a local bodhran (Irish drum) player & ending with a stomp as the audience erupted in whoops & applause.
My favorite song, Motherless Child, was beautifully introduced by Jane & dedicated to homeless LGBT youth in the U.S. Incredibly emotionally powerful, this piece is also challenging to sing – it’s a roller coaster in both its lyrics & its musical sensitivity – so it was especially gratifying to hear a voice in the crowd say, “Wooowww,” just before the audience exploded in cheers.
We felt really really good about our set. Darcy heard a woman from England say, “The world needs to hear more of *this* America.” And a German woman with limited English said to me, “Your music was lovely lovely lovely tone of sound & all of it!”
After a bus to Milwaukee; a shuttle to Chicago; a long flight to London; a shorter one to Dublin; & a van to the Holiday Inn — I collapsed onto my hotel bed & and snoozed for 2 hours. I know, I know — I broke the sacred rule for overcoming jet lag by succumbing to a mid-day nap. But I’ve been in Dublin’s fair city for 3 days now, & I feel terrific. So.
My choir, One Voice Mixed Chorus, gathered in a sleepy haze to go over our schedule for the first day of Various Voices — the 4-day LGBT choral festival that brought us here. More than 2,000 singers in 80 choirs from round the world have converged on the campus of Dublin City University to perform for each other; cheer & whistle & stomp for one another; support our common mission to promote equality & love through music; & …
sure, & to drink a pint of Guinness with a couple inches of creamy foam on top.
Which is just what I did in the hotel bar: ordered a Guinness with potato & leek soup. That deliciousness was followed by more haziness involving a discussion with my alto roomie, Kate Lynn, about how to use our European plug adaptors; a surprisingly great night’s slumber; & a hotel breakfast that included a big pot of brown beans, to everyone’s amusement.
Absolutely no one was amused by the espresso machine & cappuccino maker, however. Only deeply grateful. I even heard love mentioned, as we left the breakfast room to board our shuttle that took us over to campus for our first rehearsal on a beautiful Friday morn in Ireland.